Get the Facts About Vaping

One of our advocates, Sha’Kayla, a 16-year-old high school student, saw a Facebook post of a young man, who recounted a terrible experience he attributed to vaping that landed him in the hospital ICU for several weeks. On that post, a number of people shared erroneous information, compelling Shakayla to respond.
hero_image_alt_text===Hands holding a vape pen and cigarettes
thumbnail_alt_text==+Hands holding a vape pen and cigarettes

From Sha’Kayla:

The responses he received were rude, to say the least, and claimed vaping isn’t bad for anyone. That made me want to take a look at the facts and myths around vaping.

One responder said the young man was absolutely in the minority, had a rare response and said vaping was better than cigarettes.

That’s a myth. The fact is both are potentially poisonous for one’s body. Per the American Heart Association’s website,

  • Most e-cigarettes deliver nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm the developing brains of teens, kids and fetuses in women who vape while pregnant. Some types expose users to even more nicotine than traditional cigarettes.
  • In addition to nicotine, e-cigarette vapor includes potentially harmful substances such as diacetyl (a chemical linked to a serious lung disease), cancer-causing chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead. Users breathe in these toxic contaminants, and non-users nearby risk secondhand exposure.

  • The liquid used in e-cigarettes can be dangerous, even apart from its intended use. Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing or absorbing the liquid through their skin or eyes.

  • E-cigarettes have been linked to thousands of cases of serious lung injury, some resulting in death. While the exact cause is still not confirmed, the CDC recommends that people not use e-cigarettes.

One poster said using vapes helped clear her lungs, but as pointed out above, e-cigarette juice often contains diacetyl, which is linked to lung damage often called “popcorn lung.”

People who use e-cigarettes or vapes often use them to help them quit smoking. One poster said that’s what she did, however another quickly called her out and said she traded on addiction for another. Nicotine is highly addictive and hard to quit. There’s no evidence yet supporting the argument that e-cigarettes can help you stop smoking. Anyone interested in quitting smoking can call New Mexico’s free help line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

The original poster spent a long time in the hospital recovering. This is something that can be avoided by not smoking or vaping. We have the opportunity to be a smoke-free generation. Any young person interested in making this happen can join the AHA’s Tobacco Endgame at

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